Trauma and the Dance

One little known fact about me, is my passion for dance. I grew up doing what was termed ‘creative dance’. I loved movement, challenging my body, trying to do new things, albeit slightly difficult due to being born with my hips twisted. Dance was something that enabled me to express myself. Watching shows like ‘Solid Gold’ or ‘Ready to Roll’ and seeing the latest dance moves, was a quiet passion of mine. I loved it when Mum and Dad would go and milk the cows, and I would turn up my favourite music loud, and dance my brain out!

Then I met a friend who equally, loved to dance! Ah the magic of sharing that passion with someone!! She was far more flexible than me, but she had a way of both challenging and helping me to bust out, as much as my body would take. We often would dance all around high school, and when there was dances, it was nothing for us to be the high kicking sisters of soul!

But then dancing in general, changed. It was less about moving and expressing yourself, and it became more seductive and sexual. I didn’t like that much. The images I saw on tv were less and less desirable for me to mimic, and yet still….still I wanted to dance. Going to nightclubs was my favourite thing, not for the alcohol – which helped with me shyness – but more for the ability to just lose all sense of control on the dance floor and leave it there.

And then something happened. I’m not entirely sure what, but somewhere along the way, through different things I experienced, and traumas that I had to deal with, the dancing stopped.

Becoming a Christian, then moving back home for a while, was wonderful. I would dance and sing on the lawn, and all through the paddocks, until the sun went down. I was dancing and singing for my King. No one else. I was so alive, so fully present, so complete. But then that too stopped. I got married, and then became a Mum, then full time ministry happened. Dancing stopped, and seemed to be frowned upon back in the early 90s. Along with it of course, all secular music left the building, and I became one of ‘those’ Christians who only listened to Christian music, read Christian books, watched Christian tv and movies – I became very dull indeed.

So much of the passion and fire that lighted my soul, remained simmering away, and occasionally a Christian artist would put out a funky song, so that at least the old hips could swing for a few minutes! But then, it would all be put away again until…..Riverdance!

My God! And I really mean My God! When I saw that show on VIDEO, I thought I was going to combust!! I knew I had Irish heritage; and boy I just couldn’t get enough. My girls were kindergarten and school age, so any moment I could, I would put on that video and dance my brain out again 🙂 But the magic appeared, when the segment of Flamenco Dancing started up, courtesy of Maria Pages, a beautiful Spanish dancer. I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven. She twisted, turned, stomped, smiled, looked pained and impassioned, all at the same time – and I had finally seen something that resonated so deep within me, it never left. When I was taken to see the show live, my knees wouldn’t stop shaking. Several of us went to the back of the theatre and busted out!

A number of years later, and more trauma to add to the mix, I found myself wanting to seek out proper Flamenco lessons, here in New Zealand. It was nigh on impossible to find, so I allowed a friend to convince me to join her for Belly Dancing lessons. Turns out I wasn’t so good at rolling that belly, but I sure did try. I so appreciate the form and passion for which they dance, but in the end, it just wasn’t me.

More time passed, and I realised through life and experiences, that I had started to distrust my body. I couldn’t dance, even if I wanted too. I longed to move, I longed to feel that fire, passion, creativity and freedom again, but I just couldn’t express it anymore. I live in suburbia, and I just can’t express myself the way I want or need too. I need open air and space, and that eludes me.

I’ve also come to realise that through different traumas that I have walked through, I have completely lost confidence in my body, and indeed feel like trauma is trapped within me. In my imagination, I am stomping my way through a magic dance routine, but my body just can’t seem to do it right now. I’m not sore or in pain, and age shouldn’t be a factor, but in my mind, I just feel so boxed in and caught in a fishbowl existence, I just can’t seem to conjure anything up regarding movement, now.

Interesting that back in 2019 at the Dead Sea, I was dancing down the hallways, dancing down at the Shabbat celebration, and we even got Neil up dancing away, shaking his hips!

I’m praying that as I identify the traumas and the toll they have taken on me, that Abba Father will allow me to dance before Him again.

But on this side of Heaven 😉

Be Blessed,
Sandi xx

From My Perspective…

I remember being so green when it came to being a new author. Even though I had an internationally known Publishing House behind me, there really wasn’t alot of advice or direction given, in order for me to flourish. It was difficult, watching people alongside me, relishing in their new found role as ‘published author’ and yet for me, there seemed to be, a whole lot of…..nothing.

So, after plowing through my contract and seeing what I COULD do, I set about a plan. Or actually, I stumbled through every day, wondering what I could do next?

It seemed to me, that having a Publisher in England, was not actually beneficial to me. There wasn’t phone support, emails were sometimes disregarded, there wasn’t a ‘person’ I could touch base with, but there was something I had, that other’s didn’t necessarily have: an inquisitive nature.

Not only did I set about finding all the search engines available to me, I learnt the ISBN numbers on my e-book and softcover books, by memory. I went about, spending hours and hours, finding all the databases and websites, where my book eventually ended up on. I found it on over 400 websites! And I marvelled at how little old me, could be all over the world!

I then went on and compiled similar lists for friends who had published books around the same time as me. I wanted to see them succeed, but it seems that wasn’t reciprocated. I was used for my knowledge, and left behind in the dust. The truth is, I wasn’t very good at marketing myself, and I actually found myself in quite a depressed state.

My daughter took it upon herself to take the posters that the Publisher had sent over, and got about our village posting them in several shops. Some shops consented to having the small postcards and bookmarks in their shops as well, which was very generous.

I got to blogging about where I was at, and what it was like being a ‘published author.’ It was the weirdest of times indeed!

My contract said I wasn’t allowed to approach any bookstores, distributors, magazines or newspapers, as my inexperience could jeopardize my chances of having my book supplied with them. Meanwhile I watched a fellow author, market herself until the cows came home! Still, she was self-published, and I wasn’t, so there are different needs and strategies there.

I approached our local and national library, and even though my book wasn’t published in New Zealand, because I was a local author, they took my book on anyways – yay for me! I then found the ‘book request’ section on the Auckland Libraries website, and asked them to order the book in – they ordered in three! And it was booked for eight solid months in a row – that was good!

I sent my books to some of my favourite Ministers etc, and that was rather disheartening. After all, who am I and what is this book that I was sending to them for free? My Publisher hadn’t done me any favours, in terms of the blurb, or the artwork. I look back now, and I cringe! Why didn’t anyone step up and say the original cover wasn’t up to parr? Never mind my feelings being hurt, honesty is the best way.

The former Publisher had a section where people could write their reviews, and 99% were fantastic. I knew I had a story that had been God-inspired, but you just never know how things will be perceived. In the end, I don’t write for others, I write what my Abba Father puts on my heart – that’s it.

Going forward, it all fizzled. Nothing was really happening, sales were dismal. And the Publisher was in breach of contract, several times over. So, I found myself a Literary lawyer, who incidentally had been a journalist for over ten years in England, and she knew her stuff. I got my rights back to the book, and formally ended the contract. It ended on a positive note, and so I could move on.

My husband and I had established a indie Publishing House, two weeks before covid hit, and the first lockdown gave us a chance to re-educate ourselves. Watching endless tutorials on the whole publishing world, alongside the fact that I had been studying publishing/editing in Certification, plus all the knowledge I had garnered from my own experience – we were off!

Our experience lead me to publish a small book on my journey with my Dad into the world of Dementia. Funnily enough, without any advertising here in New Zealand, the book is doing well internationally. I never expected that, and am only now ready to market that story nationwide.

We then felt ready to (not really, but full of faith nonetheless) to bring on some other authors. I would say the rest is history, but there are a few more things to share yet!

It’s one thing to write a book, it’s another thing entirely to find an audience for this book. You may have written the most inspired book of all time, but if you don’t have an audience, you’re finished . An author needs to quit writing, and start investigating, start researching and start learning the world they have now found themselves in. Alongside their Publisher, they need to be thinking about alternative marketing, advertising and sales strategies, within the context of their Contract. They need to OWN the work they have created, and educate themselves continually by watching and reading tutorials, articles etc that will give them a greater edge. They need to avail themselves for interviews, both in person and in print, and they need to be open to advice. If they are constantly making excuses for not maintaining their own blogs, websites or social media, then they are doing themselves a large disservice.

Watch this space – SparkleMoon Publishing is aiming for the sky 😉